Gov. Jay Inslee urged local residents to “Take It Outside” and visit Washington’s state and national parks as a way to weather the COVID-19 pandemic this summer.
In a statement to the media at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site on Friday, Inslee expressed gratitude about living in “the most beautiful state in the United States” and told residents to take advantage of Washington’s natural environments.
“We have discovered a secret weapon against the COVID virus, and it's a weapon that is available to all of us,” Inslee said about the outdoors. “It is free. It is open pretty much every day of the week. It is accessible to people of all ages and all circumstances.”
Inslee said going outdoors can range from taking a walk or riding a bike to “having a cold one with colleagues” on the porch.
“All of these things done outside are much, much safer than inside right now,” he said. “Take it outside, keep yourself alive.”
The governor was joined by Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Superintendent Tracy Fortmann and others as they promoted visits to national and state parks in Washington, such as Fort Vancouver. Fortmann said the National Park Service has “invested and continues to invest” in the construction and rehabilitation of pedestrian trails, as well as sites and historical buildings.
Stacey Graham, the interim president of The Historic Trust, said the site plans to host “special Saturdays” for families to come together and create arts and crafts, and mentioned opening the Pearson Field Educational Center for outdoor activities.
“(Fort Vancouver) is the perfect place to refresh,” Graham said. “It’s a great place to exercise. It’s a terrific place to connect with history and heritage.”
Inslee told Washingtonians the “goal line is in sight” for the end of the pandemic, but the state has a few more hurdles to jump before the end.
Inslee said hospitalizations in the state have risen by 50 percent in the last two weeks. To combat the “fourth surge” the state is experiencing, Inslee told residents to get vaccinated and spend time outside as much as possible.
“This vaccine is dynamite. It knocks down the virus like crazy,” he said. “Take it outside while we get to the goal line.”